If you mention the words Ted and Martin in relation to Formula 1 these days, most people will think about the Sky TV presenters Ted Kravitz and Martin Brundle.
Back in the 1970s, Ted Martin meant a Formula 1 V8 engine.
Edward C Martin was an RAF pilot during World War II and then became involved in the design of model engines with the Anchor Motor Company in Chester in the late 1940s. In 1952 he moved to Canada to work with GM and worked there for the next 17 years, although he also established a UK company called Alexander Engineering to tune Formula Junior engines. He then developed his own four cylinder 1500cc Martin FJ engine and when F1 changed to the 3-litre formula in 1966,it seemed logical to combine two of these to create a three-litre V8. The first such engines were run in a modified Lotus 35 chassis, prepared by John Pearce, a wheel manufacturer, who ran a garage specialising in racing conversions, in the west London suburb of Southall.
Pearce had started out as a welder at Peerless Cars Ltd in Slough, a small sports car company which duly went bust in the late 1950s. It was revived making a car called the Warwick, but this too went out of business and so Pearce moved on to the Cooper Car Company in Surbiton and then joined Chris Lawrence’s LawrenceTune in Acton. At the same time Pearce operated a spares business using an old double-decker bus, which was parked on old railway land in Staines. When he had sufficient money, in 1962, he bought the garage at 10-12 Western Road, Southall and began manufacturing magnesium alloy wheels, which were sold under the JAP Magna brand.
The Pearce-run Lotus-Martin was raced at the start of 1966 by Roy Pike and finished third in a race at Mallory Park, but the following year it proved to be very slow in practice for the Race of Champions, despite being driven by Piers Courage. He later crashed the car in testing at Snetterton and the project was abandoned.
That season Pearce ran a Cooper-Ferrari for Chris Lawrence and he raced this to fifth in the Gold Cup at Oulton Park.
Martin commuted backwards and forwards between the UK and Canada, so development work on his V8 was slow, but Pearce pushed ahead with his own chassis, while the Cooper-Ferrari was raced again in the British and German GPs. The Pearce-Martin proper appeared in January 1967, at the Racing Car Show at Olympia. The first of the cars was tested at Brands Hatch but was destroyed by Lawrence, who was pushing hard to try to beat a time set by Tony Lanfranchi in the Cooper-Ferrari.
The team built another chassis and was scheduled to make its debut at the International Trophy at Silverstone at the end of April, with two Pearce-Martins entered for American Earl Jones and Lanfranchi, with Robin Darlington entered in the Cooper-Ferrari. On the night before practice began the team’s transporter caught fire and everything was destroyed.
Pearce and Martin went their separate ways after that with Pearce’s business shutting down in 1973, also apparently after a fire. Pearce turned to farming and settled near Maidenhead.
Martin designed engines for various projects, including the Monica sports car in 1973 before returning to his first love, model engineering in his retirement.
Dreams don’t always come true.